BRETT Ratten was delighted with St Kilda’s “brilliant” final quarter against Sydney on Saturday but had a warning for his team – they have to get better.
The Saints slammed home six goals early in the final term to bury the Swans by 53 points at the Gabba and move into the top four.
SAINTS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
Ratten praised their effort but was worried about a third-quarter lapse that saw a 30-point lead dwindle to 14.
“We won tonight (but) we’ve got a few things to work on,” Ratten said.
“It’s not that we’re playing perfect footy.
“The third quarter wasn’t great, it hasn’t been for a while.
“We can’t go back into our shell. We played a little bit safe and didn’t play our way, but the contested ball was poor.
“Sydney lifted up the intensity around the footy and we got beaten in that space.
“Tonight was a very good performance but it wasn’t four quarters. That’s what we’re trying to aim for.”
St Kilda is now 6-3 and could have been sitting even prettier, bar blowing leads in excess of 30 points to both North Melbourne and Fremantle.
The Swans never genuinely threatened to steal the match, but Ratten didn’t like the lapse.
“We’ve got to clear up,” he said.
“We are playing some good football and we’ve shown that throughout the year.
“Our good can be very good but sometimes our bad can be really bad.
“At the moment, that is not hurting us much on the scoreboard and we’ve got away with that, but we need to work on that.”
Ratten was particularly pleased with the standout performance of lively half-forward Nick Hind.
Hind kicked three goals, including a crucial snap on the left boot late in the third quarter to halt Sydney’s charge.
“He grabbed that game by the scruff of the neck and had a big impact,” Ratten said.
Sydney coach John Longmire said aside from the third quarter, there wasn’t a lot to like about his team’s performance.
He said maintaining intensity for four quarters with a young team was difficult, but not an excuse for playing poorly.
“I think that’s the reality of playing younger players, but there’s also got to be a standard that we keep driving,” he said.
“We just don’t sit there and say ‘OK, we’ve got a young team and we’ve got some blokes learning the game’, we’ve got to say ‘This is what’s acceptable and here’s the areas we have to improve’.
“We’ve got to keep driving that standard and making sure no matter what we do, we get better at it.”